Homebuyers are a savvy bunch. They know what they want, they’ve done their research and they’ve likely already seen all the other listings in the neighbourhood. So, what will make your listing stand out from the crowd?
Home staging has become essential in today’s real estate landscape. It highlights a home’s positive features and hints at the wonderful possibilities. Staged homes have been shown to sell faster and for a higher price – and isn’t that the ultimate goal of every listing agent?
If you think about it, the relatively small cost of home staging can yield returns in the tens of thousands on the final selling price, and that’s why many agents offer home staging as part of their services. However, here’s the problem – a real estate agent isn’t a home stager.
It’s true that most people can probably place furniture in a room just fine, so the do-it-yourself strategy could work if you want offers that are “just fine.” However, home staging with the goal of selling a home faster and for a higher price requires a keen eye, functional planning and some optical illusions to showcase a home in the best possible light. Enter the home stager – the essential resource for every real estate agent.
Here are three great reasons listing agents should lean on home stagers, every time.
1. Time is money.
A real estate agent who is busy staging homes is selling fewer of them. An agent’s primary focus should be on generating some buzz about the listing and bringing prospective buyers in. It is then the stager’s job to make that buyer feel at home in what is still someone else’s house, which is not an easy feat. According to the National Association of Realtors 2019 Profiles of Home Staging, 83 percent of buyer’s agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as their future home. And as many agents know, when a browser starts picturing where they will put their “book nook” and favourite artwork, the sale is almost in the bag.
If all goes according to plan, you’ll be getting an offer soon – another case for home staging. From the buyer’s perspective, a home that’s in need of repairs can become the target of lowball offers. Peeling paint, carpet stains and burned-out light bulbs can all contribute to the perception that a home needs serious work, which can translate to serious expenses on the buyer’s part. By their logic, what are likely a few easy fixes that should realistically only cost the seller a couple hundred dollars, could yield offers that are thousands below asking. Ouch. On the other hand, a staged home that’s undergone some basic and generally inexpensive repairs appears more refined and move-in ready and is more likely to fetch a higher price.
2. Instagram-worthy photos.
It’s common knowledge that most people start their home hunt online these days, and during this pandemic many consumers have been completing their transaction 100 per cent virtually. Listing photos, virtual showings and 3D video tours all help convey the look and feel of a home, without the buyer having to be there in person. That means the homes themselves have to look flawless.
Staging eliminates visual and physical clutter from the home, making it look bigger, brighter and more organized – three things that are on every buyer’s wish list. Take your marketing strategy a step further by engaging a professional photographer and videographer to ensure your visual materials are up to par. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and in real estate, that is the only one that counts.
3. It looks great on the agent.
A properly staged listing, done by a professional stager who knows what they’re doing, reflects better on the real estate agent. Quite simply, staging raises the bar at every level, from marketing each individual listing and increasing its appeal to the right buyer, to elevating the agent’s business and brand, helping them to stand out in a market saturated with agents. Offering staging services adds value to the agent’s suite of services while increasing their list-to-sale-price ratio and decreasing overall days on market – all important metrics that Realtors strive for, and homebuyers and sellers should consider when engaging a Realtor.
A little staging can go a long way, and when it’s executed by an experienced professional, the results (read: ROI) can far outweigh the cost. “Home” is as much a feeling as it is a roof over your head, so if you can create that ambiance and list at the right price, a serious buyer won’t be able to walk away.
Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior decorating, and design services. www.redesign4more.com